Top 5 Cookbooks

Hello, Its me….talking about food AGAIN!  Here are, what I consider to be, the Top 5 cookbooks owned by yours truly.

Levi Roots  – Caribbean Food Made Easy

Product DetailsSince  discovering Levi Roots’ cookbooks, dinner times in the Essex house have never been the same.  I’ve experimented with so many new flavors and ingredients thanks to him and it has influenced so many of my new dinner ideas.  It also introduced ‘Gingered-Up Chicken Pasta‘ into my life for which I will be eternally grateful.

Jamie Oliver – Jamie’s Italy

Product DetailsI love all of My Oliver’s books, in fact I just love Mr Oliver in general, but this book is by far his best yet.  The Fennel Risotto is AMAZING.

Rachel Allen – Bake

Product DetailsRachel Allen has a knack of creating great ‘go to’ cookbooks. This book, along with the other two I own of hers, offer me mid-week dinner inspiration time after time.

Nigella Lawson – Nigella’s Christmas

Product DetailsOther than my Christmas pudding which is, and always will be, a Delia inspired one, Nigella Lawson has Christmas solved with this beautiful book. The Christmas cake is better than any you will ever find in a shop and the Mac and Cheese and Tiramisu recipes are so good I use them all year round.  Remember, a cookbook is for life not just for Christmas.

Joanna Weinberg  – How to feed your friends with relish

Product Details

This was a Christmas present from the Essex Husband and it showed me just how well he knows me.  The book is amazing, its not just recipes, its a guide to being the perfect hostess.  Tips to make your weekend guests feels as at home as possible, ideas on how to throw the perfect dinner party, there is even a whole section of flowers.  Its quickly become my household bible.

I just couldn’t resist joining in with this weeks Listography over at Kate Takes 5 – I do love my food porn after all. Pop and take a look to see what other cookbooks are being talked about, there are some really good ones out there!

Image Credits –


Homemade Baked Beans Recipe

These add a real zing to a cooked breakfast to dinner time classics such as sassuage and mash.

Warning: Once you try these your family will never let you go back to shop bought baked beans again!

Ingredients (serves 4 as part of a meal or 2 for beans on toast)

400g tin of Haricot Beans

1 Garlic clove roughtly chopped

3 tbsp Tomato Puree

2 Tbsp Maple Syryp

1 Tbsp Soft Brown Sugar

3 Tbsp Cider Vinger

2 Tbsp Water

2 Large pinches of salt

1 Large pinches of ground all spice

3 Bay leaves


Preheat the oven to 200

Drain and rinse haricot beans and place them in an oven proof dish with a lid

Add in all other ingredients, stir to mix thoroughly and cover with lid

Bake in the oven for 30 mins – stir every 10 mins to prevent sticking

Remove bay leaves and garlic before serving


Hope you like these as much as we do – Enjoy!


Leftover Loving

I love food. Just as men think about sex every three seconds, I think about food! This is why I will never be thin.

Due to this love affair I am hater of food waste, I flat out refuse to throw anything away that could be eaten again. In addition to using up left-over’s saving us money on our shopping bills, I actually enjoy the challenge of deciding how best to use the previous night food to make lunch the next day.

So in this vain, I am planning to share with you each month my favourite use of left-over’s that have recently been eaten in the Essex house.

Peppers Stuffed with Fennel Risotto and Rosemary Potatoes

I had a Red Pepper left in the fridge about to go bad and a little Risotto left over from last night. Halved and grilled the pepper for 5 minutes to soften and then filled with the risotto and baked in the oven for 15 minutes.

The potatoes were already prepared and in the freezer. Made from the last of a bag that were beginning to sprout, I chop them into cubes, parboiled and then roasted them with some olive oil and rosemary. Once cooled, they freeze well and can be cooked straight from the freezer. They are a real hit (not to mention time saver) in our house.

This lunch took 20 minutes to make, used up food that would otherwise have been thrown away, and made a rainy Tuesday lunchtime taste that little bit better.


Perfectly Imperfect Lunchtime Pizzas

Firstly these do not just have to be for lunchtime, I personally could eat them morning noon and night, however due to how easy they are to make and how quick they cook I find them the perfect answer to the ‘what do we have in for lunch’ question my family throws at me about 11.45am every day.

Secondly the ‘imperfect’ part comes from the fact that the dough does not need to rolled out perfectly flat or into any certain shape, in fact the lumps, bumps and knobbly bits that come from putting these together in minutes make them taste all the better.


For the base(makes 4 snack size pizza bases)

  • 300g Plain flour
  • 40g Butter
  • 120ml Milk

For the Topping

  • Tomato Puree
  • 100g Grated Mozzarella or Cheddar Cheese
  • Then any additional toppings of your choice, my favorite is Peppers, Goats Cheese and Rocket and my little lady is partial to Olives and Chorizo on the top of hers, you really can let your imagination run wild here and try any number of combinations you wish.


  1. Preheat oven to 200/Gas Mark 7
  2. Place the flour and butter in a mixing bowl and run together with your fingers until it resembles crumbs
  3. Add the milk a little at a time and mix into the flour and butter until you have a ball of dough
  4. Place the ball of dough onto a pre floured surface and split into four equal pieces
  5. Flatten each piece into a pizza base with your hands and place onto your baking tray
  6. Spread a thin layer of tomato puree on each base, sprinkle on 25g of grated cheese and add your additional toppings.
  7. Cook in the oven for 10-15mins and then serve